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Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism

17 Comments

There is no doubt that the Japanese lead the way when it comes to vending machines, which sell everything from the expected (hot tea, food, candy) to the surprising (umbrellas, underwear, cars, liquor, porn).

But the growing trend to sell anything and everything via vending machines has caught on across the globe. In airports, iPods and other gadgets are sold in vending machines; artists from London to Buenos Aires have converted cigarette vending machines to sell art; along New York City’s St Marks Place numerous kiosks provide “fresh food” for late-night snackers via, you guessed it, vending machines.

With our ever-growing desire to eliminate the cashier from the retail equation, "Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism" documents the journey vending machines have made from technologically humble beginnings to the flashy consumer environments of today. For example, a holy water dispenser in ancient Greece serves as the first known historical reference to a vending machine.

With photographs from all over the world and essays that track the development of vending machines over time, "Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism" will serve as an intriguing visual point of reference for every consumer on the go.

© Japan Today

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17 Comments
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Can I buy the book from a vending machine?

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This sounds pretty fascinating. I love vending machines, though they tend to suck your wallet dry pretty quickly.

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the best that i've seen in a vending machine in where I live is hot cocoa... I want what they have in Japan!!

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Best I've seen is used panties in a vending machine

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They come handy.

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I like vending machines.

Used panties vending machine sounds like a good business opportunity... NOT!

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Used panties vending machine sounds like a good business opportunity... NOT!

The market is saturated. Although, if you could secure placement near the Kobans or police stations...

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No joke, I've seen a sex toy and condom vending machine before....of course behind a makeshift wall so it's not seen by the general public.

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Did I just set myself up on that last comment? LOL

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This is an expensive book. And I don't think I need to know what's in it, really. In my teens, in my country of birth, I used to buy cigarettes from a VM. But, even better, in those days, and that was in the 1950s, booths with vending machines serving hot snacks like fried potatoes, hamburgers, fried noodles, sandwiches, hot dogs, etc., but also cold potato salads were already very popular. My Japanese friends seeing this many years later coined them snack-coin-lockers.

The only times I use a VM nowadays is to buy the occasional bottle of water or tea, or an alcoholic drink when staying at a hotel.

The vending machine has for many people eliminated the need to plan ahead and provided a pseudo convenience, at the same time created business opportunities, waste, noise, air pollution and ubiquitous eye-sores.

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Isn't anyone worried about carbon footprint of a vending machines? They are everywhere and each has heater and cooler. I'm sure, the reason Japan night map is shining so bright is the number of vending machines in this country.

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I once found a vending machine that sold common sense for one hundred yen. It was full. The coin insert slots and the change slots were covered with rust and dust.

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Vending machines are purely a convenience. I don't know the total count in Japan of vending machines but it led the way 20 years ago with about 5 million units. Prices are equivalent and more often higher than retail outlets. Very profitable. Ideal for Japan. Not so much in the U.S. We avoid it if we can help it. Only exception : RedBox Video.

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Vending machines do away with human interaction. That's why the Japanese embrace them. Better to deal with a machine than a real person with real emotions.

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Isn't anyone worried about carbon footprint of a vending machines?

I'm not. A drink vending machine can serve several people and reduce the need for personal refrigerators and beverage warming devices. That, and, you know, worrying about global warming is silly.

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Even though i have been surprised at some japanese vending machines, then the weirdest vending machine concept i have seen so far was at my workplace here in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the management bought an instant spaghetti with tomato sauce vending machine. The spaghetti was supposed to cook for 90 seconds, and then a sauce bag should come out separately. Sometimes the pasta didnt cool well enough at all, and sometimes the sauce bag didnt come out. Lousy machine that only lasted a few months.

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I stopped buying drinks from them years ago unless desperate for a sport drink, condom or water....(that canned coffee is nasty) 120 yen a pop in 1996, 120 yen still 2010. Unless you score the generic or old stuff for 100 yen... It is in fact a conbini culture here. 3180 yen for the book is insane.... dude must have racked up a good credit card bill touring the world for weird vending machines. I got an idea...sell your book in a vending machine at Narita that takes credit cards.

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